Unilever (LON:ULVR) has drafted in a top firm of headhunters to help board members identify a successor to chief executive Paul Polman, Sky News has revealed. A formal recruitment process involving prospective candidates, however, has yet to get under way.
Unilever’s share price has been steady in London this morning, having climbed 0.41 percent to 4,250.00p, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.20 percent lower at 7,402.08 points. The group’s shares have added more than 36 percent to their value over the past year, and are up by just under 30 percent in the year-to-date.
Search for new CEO
Sky News reported yesterday that Unilever had started working with search consultant Egon Zehnder International, in a move which lays the foundations for chief executive Paul Polman eventual departure. The newswire notes that a firm date for his retirement has not yet been set, although some people close to the company expect him to step down in about 18 months.
At this stage, Egon Zehnder’s work is reportedly focused on aiding the Unilever board’s preparedness for a formal search process. Possible internal candidates to succeed Polman are thought to include Graeme Pitkethly, the company’s finance director, although an extensive international search is almost certain to be carried out.
The search for a new CEO will come amid an ongoing restructuring at the consumer goods giant, following Kraft Heinz’s failed takeover offer earlier this year which prompted Unilever to move to unlock more value for shareholders. The company recently launched an offer for its Dutch preference shares to simplify its structure, and is further looking to offload its spreads business.
Sky News reports that analysts also expect Unilever to announce next month that it will move to a single Dutch headquarters.